FRIENDS OF ANAHUAC REFUGE
Visitor Center and Visitor Information Station
Making a stop at the Visitor Center is highly recommended for first-time visitors. In addition to maps and information, wildlife and land management exhibits introduce the refuge and provide an overview of what you can expect to see. There is also a nature store operated by the Friends. Behind the Visitor Center is the
Lake Anahuac Trail and Boardwalk. It is about 1/4 mile long ends on a boardwalk overlooking Lake Anahuac. There are no entry fees and all exhibits are free.
The Visitor Information Station (VIS) is located on the refuge about 20 miles southeast of the Visitor Center. It also has exhibits and a nature store operated by the Friends. There are no fees to enter the refuge, but visitors are asked to register on the sign-in sheet in the VIS when it is open.
Driving on the refuge
Most of the refuge's roads are paved and provide access to portions of the refuge open to the public. The driving loop around Shoveler Pond is a little over three miles and allows visitors to see various habitats on the refuge. Shorebirds, waterfowl, otters, and alligators are commonly seen from the road. The Marchetti Bird Blind is located in the
Jackson Woodlot one mile south of the VIS. A grove of trees here provides nesting opportunities for birds. Frozen Point is another 5 miles south along the road. The road ends at Frozen Point and offers views of coastal prairies, East Bay, and Bolivar Peninsula.
Nature Trails on the refuge
The Willows Trail starts near the Visitor Information Station and goes through the Butterfly Garden and a grove of willow trees.
The trail is half paved and half elevated board walk. Numerous species of nesting birds can be found here. The trail is approximately 1/3 mile.
The Hackberry Trail starts just south of the VIS next to the road to the Oyster Bayou Boat Ramp. You can park at the Visitor Information Station, and walk down the trail overlooking moist soil units where you will likely see several species of waterfowl and waterbirds. The trail is about 1/2 mile roundtrip.
The Skillern Tract (also known as the East Bay Bayou Tract) is located about 7 miles east of the refuge main entrance. East Bay Bayou runs through the tract which is lined with large oak trees. The Live Oak Trail begins just south of FM 1985 and runs south through the paved parking area and ends at the fishing pier on that side of the bayou. The trail is about 1 mile one-way. The Rookery trail starts in the paved parking lot, crosses over the bayou and ends at the viewing platform overlooking The Rookery. This trail is about .25 miles one way. This trail is completely paved.
Fishing and Hunting
The refuge relies on fishing and hunting programs every year for habitat management purposes. Freshwater bayous and saltwater in East Bay offer ample fishing opportunities. The Oyster Bayou boat ramp is about 1/3 mile east of the VIS and provides boat access on the freshwater bayous. The East Bay boat ramp about 3 miles southwest of the VIS offers access to the bay.
Hunting is offered during specific periods each year. The East Unit of the refuge is closed to the public except for hunting. For more information, visit the refuge's website.